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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraSummer's imminent arrival means your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, the system may need to be recharged.

Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, until researchers found it caused ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in vehicles built after 1994. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on an air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of periphery components at the same time.

Why? The easy answer is working on an air conditioning system is about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

To avoid draining your refrigerant, removing your compressor, installing a new unit and refilling the system with new cool stuff — only to have you come back in a week and say it's still not cold enough — it makes sense to replace the necessary components.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen of Snap Fitness - FITNESS INSIDER -

SNAP FITNESS - Mike NielsenAs the inspirational saying goes, “Live less out of habit and more out of intent.”

While it’s true that starting a fitness routine can be difficult, I offer the following tips to get you in the gym door and on the road to good health.

Assessment — New SNAP Fitness clients receive a free jump-start session, including consultation with a trainer. The assessment determines the client’s baseline, helps us guide their first steps, and is an opportunity to discuss adding personal training.

Cardio — The national recommendation for exercise for all ages and fitness levels is to get to the gym at least three days per week, and to do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio per visit. Working out with a friend will make it more fun, help you feel more accountable, help you stay at the gym for more months and achieve a higher level of success.

Strength training is key to replacing fat with muscle, becoming leaner, stronger and improving balance. Do two to three sessions of strength training per week.

Nutritional guidelines — Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five to six small meals. This will fuel your energy throughout the day and avoid post-meal sluggishness. Also drink 96 ounces of water daily.

Online help — SNAP has a complete online nutritional program and training center. Free with membership, it provides a personalized workout plan, sample menus and a complete library of instruction videos.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

Mike Nielsen, Snap FitnessStrength training is an essential part of an exercise program, even for someone who hasn’t been active in a while.

Lifting weights, using weight machines and doing core work increases muscle mass and bone density.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate (called sarcopenia) and bone density decreases.

Research shows that seniors are more susceptible to bone breakage that younger adults. As people age, their metabolism slows down. We are seeing more and more seniors joining gyms.

If we take the average adult between the ages of 40 and 50 and do basic strength-training three to four times per week for 90 days, the outcome can be life-changing.

Here’s a myth-buster: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat! A pound is a pound. 

Muscle is, however, more dense than body fat and takes up less area than fat. If you were to start an exercise program complete with strength training, you would increase your lean body mass and decrease body fat.

The body takes up less space and metabolism speeds up, resulting in a higher BMR (base metabolic rate, the amount of daily caloric intake needed to maintain LBM and weight.) This reverses sarcopenia and increases bone density.   

Not everyone walks into a gym and knows exactly what to do. Snap gives new members an opportunity to meet with a Certified Personal Trainer, who assesses their body and their goals. 

Let’s get started.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTO MAINTENANCE INSIDER

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageRegular maintenance on your car is, quite simply, a good investment.

For example, when you bring your car in for a timing belt — typically needed at 90,000 to 100,000 miles— it costs in the range of $400 to $500. But if it breaks, it might be $1,800 to $2,000.

At our shop, when we do it, we do it right. With the timing belt, we also replace the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys, camshaft seals, water pump and coolant.

Mileage interval maintenance, which is only done by shops, should be done at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles.

The ideal scenario is to get the car into the shop about three times per year for inspections, which will find things like rodent damage, which is more common than you might think. It’s mainly squirrels in this area.

An inspection will also uncover leaking coolant or oil, as well as plugged-up air filters. Once a year, you should get a brake inspection.

We do complete automotive repair, including pre-purchase inspections for $150. That’s a comprehensive inspection, which can detect unforeseen problems and save you from buying a compromised vehicle.

Our average cost for an oil change is $38; $58 for a brake inspection.

It’s a small investment. We do it properly and can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the road.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

SNAP FITNESS - Mike Nielsen“We are a friendly, success-oriented fitness center,” says Mike Nielsen, vice president and co-owner of Snap Fitness locations in Oregon City, Milwaukie and Canby. “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of the gym world, where everybody knows your name.”

Nielsen has been a certified fitness coach for 13 years and has been with Snap for eight years. He says being a fitness coach is all about helping individuals achieve the best version of themselves.

“It’s not just something that’s done at the gym, but it’s a lifestyle change,” he said of Snap. “We focus on not only the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of everyday life, to make sure we are able to achieve long-term success.”

He says Snap gyms have a family feel and a personal touch.

The gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with monitored access for safety. Snap has more than 1,500 locations nationwide.

The fitness centers offer cardio, personal training, weight-loss programs, a health center, strength training and Olympic lifting. An online web page for members offers nutrition counseling and an online training center.

“Our members are our greatest assets,” Nielsen added. “We do all we can to make sure they have not only the best facility and equipment, but a wonderful experience.”

Snap Fitness


Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.


Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170


Canby: 1109 SW 1st Ave.


Brought to you by John Sciarra - Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraAfter nearly 100 years of providing excellent full-service automotive repair and maintenance, Bernard’s Garage is a classic Milwaukie institution trusted by generations of customers.

Founded in 1925, old timers and area residents still remember Joe Bernard Sr., who would design and build custom car parts when his customers’ vehicles needed it. Joe Bernard Jr., a former Milwaukie mayor, helped modernize Bernard’s and continued his father’s tradition of excellent customer service.

The current owner, Jim Bernard, another Milwaukie mayor and current Clackamas County commissioner, has computerized Bernard’s—turning his father’s mechanics into today’s technicians.

Besides providing free pickup and delivery, Bernard’s offers DEQ repair and adjustments, check-engine light diagnosis, manufacturer-scheduled maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension repair, timing belt tune-ups, radiator and water pump work, as well as engine, transmission and air conditioning service.

“We are straight shooters and will let you know what the problem is and what the cost is upfront,” Operations Manager John Sciarra says.

Sciarra, an 18 year veteran of Bernard’s, has attained numerous specialty vehicle class certifications. With 26 years in the industry overall, Sciarra is our INSIDER for automotive excellence.

Bernard’s Garage is a 17-year-long supporter of the Milwaukie Farmers Market, a Milwaukie First Friday participant and frequently donates to the Annie Ross House, Milwaukie Senior Center and other local schools and events.

A member of the Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce since 1955, Bernard’s has been named Business of the Year twice since 2000, and has received the BRAG award from the county for practicing responsible recycling and waste management.

Bernard's Garage 

2036 SE Washington St, Milwaukie, OR.

(503) 659-7722


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Riding to the rescue of wounded warriors, disabled


From the first day that Richard Marlow walked into Oregon City’s Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center he saw “minor miracles going on all around me.”

Marlow saw children and adults with a variety of disabilities, instructors and horses all working together to promote the benefits of equine therapy.

And now Marlow, an Oregon City High School graduate and the development director at the center since this past February, wants to share that miracle and promote the center through a run/walk, set for Sunday, July 28, starting at Clackamette Park.

He is calling the event the First Warrior Run, Walk & Roll for three reasons. First, the center has initiated a new therapy program called equine-facilitated psychotherapy, aimed at returning veterans with physical disabilities and traumatic-stress issues, and second, the run will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a national organization set up to help soldiers in a variety of ways.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Run, Walk & Roll organizer Richard Marlow chats with Michelle Barlow and Buster, a rescue horse.The “roll” part of the event title reflects the fact that the entire route for the run/walk is wheelchair accessible.

Marlow came up with the idea for the event because he was looking for “more open-ended ways of funding events that could get bigger year after year.”

Describing himself as a one-man committee, Marlow has secured all the road permits from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the cities of Oregon City and Gladstone, in order to establish the best routes for the run/walk.

The event begins at Clackamette Park in Oregon City, goes along the Clackamas River Trail on the Oregon City side and then crosses the bridge into Gladstone’s Cross Park. Participants doing the 5K walk will then turn around and go back to Oregon City.

Runners who want to do five miles will extend their route by moving along the Willamette Trail, passing the sculptures on the riverfront near downtown Oregon City, and then turn around to finish up back at Clackamette Park.

‘Worthy organizations’

One unique aspect of the event is that the entire thing will be filmed, using cameras from public-access station Willamette Television, and participants will be able to buy still photos afterward. This came about because Marlow is a longtime TV producer, who said he was best known for “Fishing the West,” a program that ran for more than 16 years.

Marlow hopes to draw at least 200 participants to the event, which he said will benefit “two worthy organizations.”

Money raised during the run/walk will help make Sycamore Lane’s equine-facilitated psychotherapy program available to more local veterans. In addition, it will help the Wounded Warrior Project.

“That should appeal to a lot of people. You can’t help feeling for those young men and women coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq with beat-up bodies and learning disabilities,” he said.

Roots of Sycamore Lane

Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center was founded in 2008 by Dr. Suzanne Cleland-Zamudio, a Portland-area physician-surgeon, who grew up on the Clackamas River Drive property when it was called the Sycamore Lane Welsh Pony Farm.

“She has a son who is autistic, and she understands the benefits of equine therapy,” said Michelle Bianchi, program director at the center.

When Cleland-Zamudio couldn’t find anyone in the area doing this kind of work, it became her dream to open a facility where a lot of people would benefit from equine therapy.

The mission of the Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center is to provide and promote therapeutic riding and recreation in a safe, professional and nurturing environment to children and adults with a variety of physical and cognitive disabilities, Bianchi said.

When the center first opened there were only six riders — now there are 60. Bianchi has been with the center for two-and-a-half years, starting as a volunteer and working her way up to program director.

Bianchi grew up riding horses from the age of 5, and then put that activity on the back burner when she started college, getting a degree in kinesiology, which focuses on the movement of the body.

She also earned a teaching certificate and taught adaptive physical education at the elementary and secondary level in California. When she moved to Oregon three years ago, she had difficulty finding a job, so began volunteering at Sycamore Lane.

“When I volunteered here, it opened my eyes to the potential opportunities for using my horse background and my teaching experience,” Bianchi said.

In addition to being program director at the center, she also is an instructor and the Oregon state chairman of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, an organization that certifies all instructors in equine therapy.

Variety of therapies

There are three kinds of therapeutic work offered at the center, Bianchi said.

The first is called therapeutic riding. Children and adults with a variety of physical, mental and emotional disabilities can learn horseback-riding skills, with the goal of becoming independent riders. Skills include strength training, balance, sensory integration and spatial awareness.

Hippotherapy is taught by an occupational therapist, a speech pathologist or a physical therapist with the goal “to treat the client using the horse as a tool. There are no riding skills,” Bianchi said.

For example, an occupational therapist might have the client walk beside the horse, holding onto the reins, thus teaching fine motor skills that can translate into daily life, she said.

Equine-facilitated psychotherapy is focused on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety issues, and participants do not learn any horseback-riding skills. Instead, they work on the ground with the horses and a psychotherapist. The horse mirrors a person’s emotions, Bianchi said, adding that this kind of therapy can help with boundary setting and relieving depression.


Bianchi hopes the run/walk is a success, and thinks that the event is a “great opportunity for people to know us and find out what we do. Our goal is to fund some research that shows that this form of alternative therapy works. A lot of people are skeptical, but this is more than just a pony ride.

“We want to reach more veterans, as they are underserved and in great need.”

Some medical insurance may pay for hippotherapy, Bianchi said, but the center does offer some of the other therapies at a discounted rate. The support of donors and participants in the run/walk will help fund scholarships for the other therapy programs.

Twelve working horses are housed at the shelter, most of them donated to the program, Bianchi said, adding that most of the horses are on the small side, since volunteers walk alongside the horses when they are used for therapy.

“Not every horse is good for therapy. They have to have the right attitude and also have to like their job,” she said.

One notable equine is Buster, a handsome, dark-eyed former racehorse that was rescued from Portland Meadows after he broke both front legs.

“We rescued him, and he wears special shoes that are like horsey slippers,” Bianchi said, adding that Buster gets an anti-inflammatory medication every day because of his injuries.

He is a good example to the clients at the center, Bianchi said, because he illustrates “that even if you have a disability you can still participate and have a happy life.”

Run, Walk & Roll

What: First Annual Warrior Run, Walk & Roll

When: Sunday, July 28; registration begins at 7 a.m. at Clackamette Park in Oregon City; the 5K or 5-mile run/walk begins at 8 a.m.

Details: Entry fee is $40, but the event is free for children under 12. The entire route is wheelchair accessible. The event is sponsored by Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center, in association with the Wounded Warrior Project. Proceeds fund an equine-based mental health and learning program for veterans and others with disabilities.

To register for the First Annual Warrior Run, Walk & Roll and to learn more about Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center, visit sycamorelane.org or call 503-593-7084.

To learn more about the Wounded Warrior Project, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.